The Art of Travel
by Alain de Botton
This book was an impulse purchase (I saw shiny silver and airplane pictures, so I was sold on that alone), and will remain a book that I believe I will read over and over again now. While it’s over a decade old, it obviously still rings very true, because Penguin have just re-released it to a new generation of travellers. Based on the premise that there are unlimited travel books available that will advise us on where to go, how to get there, what to do in any given city, but none that really help us discover why we travel and how we might become more fulfilled while doing so, this is a very different type of travel book.
Alain de Botton is the founder of the infamous School of Life, which people like me can only dream of one day attending. He is a brilliant man, to say the very least, a philosopher and thought provoker. This book establishes that on each and every page.
He draws from the insights of great writers on the more abstract notions of the sublime, the anticipation of travel, motives, landscape, and many more to demonstrate that there is more to any adventure than just where to sleep and what to see. He delves deeper into the small details, the ones often ignored or forgotten. He focuses on the ways we can take our experiences home with us too, such as writing and particularly drawing, even if you’re not particularly talented creatively. It really makes you ponder on what the point of travel is, and you can’t help but relate a lot of his words to your own life and experiences.
If you’re a traveller, a wanderluster, if you’re interested in why we do what we do, how we might do it better, a fresh perspective on old information, or just plain looking to escape for a few hours, please give this a read. Pick up a copy here.
“The destination was not really the point. The true desire was to get away—to go, as he concluded, ‘anywhere! anywhere! so long as it is out of the world!”
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel